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Hi People
I've been trying to buy a Stowa marine 36 for some time. I'm more attracted to the arabic numerals design.
But I'm torn between the small seconds hand (Hand wound) and the central sweeping hands.
I actually prefer the small seconds hand on the original, the position and layout is spot on. In contrast, the central seconds hand on the 36mm just looks a tad squeezed, I wonder if this is due to technical issues due to the movement size.
but then the without the small seconds, it looks slightly empty? Sometimes you notice it, sometimes you dont.

The best design really is the "original" in my opnion.

Watch Analog watch Clock Silver Watch accessory


the hand wound 36mm forces the small seconds to "float up".
Watch Analog watch Clock Silver Watch accessory


This one is growing on me...
Watch Analog watch Clock Silver Rectangle


It doenst look bad at all in certain angles.

Watch Analog watch Clock Watch accessory Font

Watch Analog watch White Light Clock
 

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I see what you mean. In the 36mm, the seconds subdial is almost flush against the center pin of the dial. It does look a bit a "cramped" next to the 40mm version. For comparison, here's my 44mm Steinhart Marine. It's a much bigger watch, of course, with a bigger subdial, but the proportions are somewhat similar to the 36mm Stowa, although there is a bit more room between the subdial and the center of the dial. It all comes down to what will make you happier.


I love my Stowa 40mm three-hander, by the way. I went for it because I already had the small seconds in the Steinhart.
 

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I just ordered a small seconds myself. As in everything with life, there seems to be pros and cons :) . I think an ordinary seconds hand gives more life to the dial, since the motion of a small seconds hand isn't very eye catching. But I prefer the way the small seconds takes up space on the dial, and that won out for me here.
 

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I've got the small seconds 36mm but with Roman numbers. The biggest reason I chose it over the marine with central seconds was actually the movement and height. The sub sec is a little bit slimmer in hand wound and I already have a Sellita in my Flieger and it wasn't that big difference in price. Just worth mentioning that there's other difference than just how the dial look :) I have no idea which one to chose with Arabic numerals tho. except that I for sure would go for one of the 36mm.
 

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I agree with you, and why I personally never went further in considering the 36mm Stowas, though I like everything else about them.

I don’t consider either bad designs though, just my personal preference for use of negative space.

If the sub-seconds was moved down, I think it would crowd or cut off the numerals (ie the picture from @Viseguy).

OP are you open to other brands and sizes?
 

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I think the location of the subdial on the 36mm has to do with the layout of the movement. Most handwound watches in this size use the same / similar movement, including most Nomos watches, and the subdial is always pretty close to the center. Just the way it is, probably very hard to find a subdial near the edge of the dial in this size...
 

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beautiful watches, I’ve been seconds away from impulse buying one online about 20 times in the past 12 months (36mm with small seconds). I had already configured everything, but stopped before the final mouse click…
 

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All of them are nice designed watches. I believe Stowa team made the very best they could, considering second hand position limitations introduced by the movements.

I personally chosen Stowa Marine 36mm with a small second because of:
  • historically significant manufacturer
  • very “Hanseatic” look
  • the small second design keeps the true spirit of marine watch
  • easy to read the time at a glance
  • hand-wound, no screw down crown - love the clear “stop” when the watch is fully wound
  • the size, it is thin, low and so comfortable to wear
 

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I agree the "Original" is proportioned beautifully, but that is a Unitas 649x movement, and won't fit in the 36mm case. I've owned the black dial Stowa MOLE, and it was great, but just too large on my wrist. I've also owned the 36mm Flieger, with central seconds, and prefer that to the small seconds. I feel the same about larger cased Nomos watches, which can sometimes make the small seconds float up a bit.

But they're both wonderful looking watches - another poster had a good point about filling up the space. Which one do you want on your wrist?
 

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the central sweeping hands.
I. M. H. O. ;)
CSH looks like it is butting in on another conversation. The 'third wheel' on a date. The narcissistic relative.

That watch screams "Small Seconds" as fitting and proper. The crown slightly turns me off; I'd prefer the knurled cylinder flat, without its current convex arc. But in a 36mm on leather, it is something I'd get used to. Like a GF who always seems to leave bottle caps and jar lids half screwed-on, a little crookedly; you love her enough to smile at the quirk, and embrace the characteristic into your life.
 

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I have the central seconds one. It's beautiful both on the black leather strap that came with it and the mesh bracelet STOWA sells.

I think if I could go back in time I'd have gotten the small seconds version. I got central seconds for precisely the reason @LawyerGeek suggests -- I thought it would look more lively. And it is lively. I love watching the seconds hand go, seeing the blued hands change magnificiently in the light and the sharp shadow it casts on the dial. But the emptiness of the bottom half of the dial really gets to me sometimes.

I think one thing to consider is that blued hands look black in many day-to-day lightings. You often have to angle the watch to catch the blue. So the emptiness of the bottom half of the dial + the relative "ordinariness" of the black-looking hands may make the central seconds version too plain looking for your tastes.
 

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Of course I am, but its surprisingly hard to find a nice marine/deck watch.
Ah, I did not know there's a classification of marine watches and focused on the small second placement.
I would agree then, in that case your options are quite limited.

The only suggestion I can make is perhaps look at vintage watches. Example below, in my opinion, the left vintage sub seconds placement is way better than the modern reissue,

 
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